opening, managing, and growing a salon is not easy as it looks
Opening a salon is easy; there are about 30 + salons in every locality. But do you know what is tough & challenging? Managing the salon, building & growing the salon.
Irrespective of whether one's salon is large or small, running on a small or big scale, always full or mostly empty, regardless of the services you provide. There are a set of issues generally faced by salon owners & no salon owners can run away from these challenges.
Let's look into some challenges most common in running the salon; let's look it up from the salon owner's viewpoint.
So if you are thinking of being a salon owner, this is a must-read as it will give you an idea of what's ahead so that you can prepare yourself for it.
CHALLENGE 1 - THE TEAM
Here the issue is not just finding the right people for your salon & getting them on board. There's more to it. Managing them daily & retaining them is one of the biggest challenges you will face as a salon owner. Hiring the right person who is not only good at their work but also aligns with the salon's principles.
Everyone may be the best individually, but when coming together as a team, is there harmony & understanding amongst them? Are they working together for the same goal?
Retaining is very important. When people leave, it wastes your time to hire a new one - which again costs you money & energy. This also affects the flow of the work. As people are dynamic in nature, it's very unpredictable & thus keeps the salon owners on their toes.
CHALLENGE 2 - CHOICE OF PRODUCTS
In today's time, there is no issue with the number of options available in the market. And the way they are marketed, everyone thinks the new product in the market is the best & can do wonder to them. Which makes them demand that particular product.
Now, as a salon owner, it can get overwhelming & challenging to stock up on every 2nd product & variety available in the market. Of course, it costs a lot of money & also is not sensible & practical to do so, it blocks space, comes with an expiry date, too much confusion to salon staff too. And as a salon owner, you'll notice that every next day you have a band sales person coming up to you to sell the brand's beauty products. The list is endless, from shampoo to color to pedicure kit. What to choose & what not can be the most difficult task. A big challenge for the salon owner to decide what products to take & what to not.
CHALLENGE 3 - RETAIN YOUR CUSTOMERS
As we know, just 100 steps from your salon can be another 4 salons. Therefore, making sure that your client visits you only the next time instead of the other salon in the area or anywhere else is something that always keeps the salon owners on the toe.
We are never sure if the customer will revisit us the next time.
Repeat is based on many factors - your quality of service, offers, rates, discount, relationship with them, brand recall power, etc.; the list is endless. Though some factors are in our hands, some are not under our control. But the best we can do is satisfy them with our work. Exceptional service always stands out. And how to maintain that & keep improving is something that the salon owner faces challenges.
CHALLENGE 4 - PRICE SETUP
In the competitive business, where the options are endless, the easy way to distract & convince the clients is the price drop.
Lower price attracts many people, but it does take a toll/effect on your earnings.
Obviously, there is no point in servicing the clients while you run into losses. There is always a comparison of costs with the different salons. Your service may be much better than the competitors, but the rate is what attracts people; this is a given point. Balancing the prices is one big challenge that salon owner faces. To balance the price list of services to find a balance between its salon costs & expenses.
CHALLENGE 5 - MARKETING YOUR SALON
Marketing your salon right is the most essential activity to ensure you are in that area's residents' minds. But for the salon owner to single-handedly manage the marketing activities is not as manageable as it looks.
Marketing involves many activities, from advertising your salon to being socially active to managing social media. It also involves getting suitable promotional activity, running campaign offers, etc. It can get tricky & challenging to build marketing strategies that target the locals.
Getting the right offer or discount deal suits the client that is cost-effective for the salon. A lot of planning goes into making deals & campaigns. If you have a build a website, maintaining it regularly is a time-consuming website; managing it is a task.
To build an effective marketing strategy & then also implement it effortlessly and in favor of the salon is not as easy.
Also, remember just building & implementing - marketing doesn't end there. An analysis is the most important thing to understand what worked & what did not. Marketing is a complete package of planning, executing, and seeing the mistakes & making corrections accordingly. As an owner, single-handedly working on all these activities is just next to impossible.
CHALLENGE 6 - REGULAR FLOW OF INCOME
The salon is a business where the earnings are not entirely predictable. It is all-season based with no fixed earning amount. Season-based means the salon earnings go up during festivals, holidays, and weddings. But there are days with less business too. Every month can show a different earning figure. Therefore another challenge the salon owners faces is maintaining a regular flow of income on dull business days too. So that it is easy to pay out the bills, salaries & monthly expenses. Every month end does bring with it the stress of making payments too. Therefore, salon owners must always think of new ideas for bringing in the cash flow and build plans to ensure a steady flow of money inwards. Also, how to increase the income for growth opportunities.
CHALLENGE 7 - SALON MAINTENANCE
Looking after the salon space is an ongoing continuous process. The salon has to be maintained & looked after. This means not only the room space but also the tools & equipment, products, supplies, sanitizing the space, the pantry area, etc.
Maintenance can be threefold. One maintaining the room space, which includes cleanliness & maintaining hygiene. It is a crucial point as people come there for the ambiance too. Two, the products & tools used. All of this has to be maintained & service too. Third the furniture, food stock, etc.
The key point here is maintaining the timeline. The furniture, tools, etc., all have different maintenance and shelf life. What needs to be serviced? When should the deep cleaning of the place be scheduled? Which instrument needs a repair or a replacement? All these responsibilities & decisions are to be kept by the owner. And it's tough to keep a note & follow the different timelines.
CHALLENGE 8 - MANAGE FINANCES
The daily work doesn't just involve the inflow of money from the service provided. On a regular basis, there are a lot of outflows from the expenses one must incur to provide the service. Also, expenses can be directly related to the service - purchases of products, etc. Indirect expenses like refreshments for clients. There are monthly fixed costs such as rent, and variable costs like the purchase of tools.
The source of inflow can also be from the sale of a product or from different sources like the purchase of gift cards, paid membership, etc. And now add the returns, advance payments, dues, etc. All this makes the flow of money quite dynamic - in & out.
So if you thought salon finance meant just adding up all the cash inflow, think again. As a salon owner on a daily basis, maintaining the account book can be difficult for a person to handle alone.
CHALLENGE 9 - BRINGING IN NEW CLIENTS
As a salon owner, you can never always depend only on your existing clients. There's always a fear of no new visit.
Because the loyalty of customers is relatively low in this business. It's always essential for the salon owner to think of ways of attracting new inflow of new clients to maintain the flow of their revenue. As a salon owner, the challenge to find exciting ways to attract new clients and always keep your salon name heard & popular in the market is a task.
But ask yourself whether you have the time, energy & expertise to solve all the above-mentioned issues.
Usually, the answer is no, and the best solution is to outsource the activities to the field experts, which would fetch you the best outcome.
The answer to decide which activity to do by self & which not is best known to you. Because as a salon owner, you know your strength & weaknesses, and planning out accordingly is your best bet.
Also, focus on the really important ones. Don't worry; as an owner, you can always supervise, suggest & share your inputs while dealing with the outsourced agency.
Stylist or owner – passion or operation, the juggle between the two is real.